L-R: Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi; Ewi of Ado-Ekiti, Oba Rufus Adejugbe; Chairman, Sawmillers Association of Nigeria, Ekiti State Chapter, Mr. John Okunrojifa; and Commissioner for Environment, Dr. (Mrs.) Eniola Ajayi, during a donation of buses to the Association, shortly after a programme on the Inception Review of Forestry Law/Governance, in Ado-Ekiti.
Ekiti State Government has received the support of the European Union/Food and Agricultural Organisation to the tune of $57,661 for the review of Forestry Law and Governance.
The State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi made this known in Ado Ekiti at the inception programme on the Review of Forestry LawGovernance on Tuesday.
The grant is to among other objectives ensure effective service delivery in the forestry sector while also protecting the environment.
The Governor who noted that the State Government’s partnership with development partners is yielding fruits expressed optimism that the outcome of the review will greatly enhance the performance of Forestry operations in the State.
Dr Fayemi stated that the review is not targeted at increasing Internally Generated Revenue alone but also to protect the dwindling forest resources of the State from illegal activities in order to achieve sustainable development and to have appropriate sanctions where necessary.
“You will agree with me that the existing laws enacted in 1942 is completely obsolete and needs to be reviewed to stand the test of time, hence we welcome the opportunity to collaborate with European Union / Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (EU/FAO) to achieve this to the benefit of the good people of Ekiti State and Nigeria at large”, he said.
While soliciting the cooperation of all and sundry to transform the sector, the governor noted that this is crucial for Ekiti “because we have a report in our custody which made it abundantly clear that if we do nothing about the current rate of exploitation, illegal felling of trees in Ekiti State, there will be no trees left in our forest in another two or three years”.
This worrisome trend, according to Fayemi, is not limited to Ekiti because it has been reported that the forest cover of Nigeria is currently only 5% from about 30% as at Independence in 1960.
He highlighted some of the efforts of the present Government to ensure that the rejuvenation of the Forestry sector.
Also speaking, the Commissioner for Environment, Dr Eniola Ajayi said the State has also just received support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for the assessment of the forest potential of Ekiti State.
Ajayi added that the Fayemi administration has promoted five Deputy Directors in the Forestry Department to substantive Directors to compliment the review in the area of manpower.
She explained that government is also seriously collaborating with the stakeholders within the sector to address the various challenges.
In his remarks, the leader of the European Union/Food and Agricultural Organisation delegation, Dr Rabi Mani said that the support given to the State is to address the problem of over-deforestation and stop illegal timber lumbering.
He opined that the support will help enhance environmental sustainability and boost the economy of the State.
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